By now you’ve probably heard of kombucha, the beverage the ancient Chinese called the “Immortal Health Elixir.” It’s a fermented tea that’s been around for more than 2,000 years and has a rich anecdotal history of health benefits like preventing and fighting cancer, arthritis, and other degenerative diseases. But are these health benefits backed by science?
Made from sweetened tea that’s been fermented by a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (a SCOBY, a.k.a. “mother” because of its ability to reproduce, or “mushroom” because of its appearance), kombucha didn’t gain prominence in the West until the past couple of decades. Now it’s gained an ardent and addicted following — so much so you can buy it in most airports and grocery stores in the US.